The Whys of the All-Male Panel

We know the all-male (and often all-pale) panels exist but in our enlightened and social media savvy time, why do they persist?  Why, when event managers know they can be taken to task publicly, do they continue to put together all-male panels?

Innovation Women, our database of female speakers, is here to help! We make it easy to find speakers and gender-balance your panels.
Recently NPR’s Malaka Gharib, of “Goats and Soda” fame, took another swing at the all-male panel, this time in global development where there is no lack of female representation.
We hear all the “excuses” – the stories of last minute cancellations and male replacements, the conferences that are “overall balanced”, or the “not enough women in this sector”.  We know there are some other things that contribute to the issue too, including:
  • The speaking circuit – some people get on the circuit and keep getting invites. Event managers see them at an event, say “that’s a great speaker” and send out the invite.
  • The practice of inviting speakers from other events perpetuates the same speakers — years of this has created speaking slates that look the same as they did years ago.
  • In-group bias, tendency of people to give opportunities to others they perceive to be like themselves.
  • Fewer women in many roles (like Venture Capital) means fewer options for event managers to choose from
  • Event managers are busy and sometimes they take the path of least resistance – asking people they know, or working from their personal Rolodex, and these people are likely to be part of the same demographic group.
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